- from Westward Expansion
Finally, your family is headed west! During the day, you get to walk alongside the oxen as they pull the wagon, but your little brother has to stay inside, because he can’t keep up.
At night you both have chores, like fetching firewood and water. Your parents talk excitedly about the Oregon Territory, where a family can claim 640 acres of land for free. More quietly, they discuss the dangers ahead.
Why did people move west? Some were looking for new places to sell goods, some wanted their own land, and others wanted a place to feel at home. Reports from earlier settlers inspired people to make the trip. In 1836, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman set up a Christian mission near the Walla Walla Valley. As one of the first American women to cross the South Pass, she wrote letters home describing the beautiful valleys and rich soil in Oregon. When her letters were published, they attracted more settlers.